Everything In Good Time
Author Note: I do not own Yugioh or any of the characters from the show. I hope you enjoy this story and I look forward to seeing what people think of it. If you like it please R&R. I don't expect this to be a long story like my other two Yugioh fics, but I think it will be a fun ride as it moves along. Just a warning this story will contain spoilers for Battle City and possibly the Noah's Virtual World saga. This fic has been beta read by Minor Arcana; a big thank you to her for all her help and advice on the story.
Dog Days Chapter Four: Everything In Good Time
Tension filled the air between the two best friends as they walked to school in silence. Joey had immediately seen the concern in his friend's eyes when Yugi'd seen his bruised cheek. It was a shame that when they had gym class later that his battered arms would be visible while he changed into his gym clothes and the thought of it made the young teen sad. Yugi hadn't asked him what happened and he could only pray that he didn't suspect where his injuries really came from.
One thing that helped get Joey through those moments where his father was laying into him was thinking about his friend Yugi; how he didn't live in conditions like he had to endure and that out there in the world Yugi was alive and well. He didn't know what to say; so he just kept walking next to Yugi, waiting for him to break the ice that had formed between them the moment Yugi came up and saw him standing at the corner waiting for him. After greeting each other they'd both fallen silent. As it turned out Joey didn't have to wait too long as they were almost at school.
"So Joey, do you still want to come over Friday and spend the night?" Yugi smiled as he posed the question.
"Sure Yugi. If you still wanna have me over that is," Joey smiled even though it made his face ache.
"Of course I do! It will be fun," Joey saw Yugi's expression change and he held his breath afraid of what he might be about to say. "Joey? Can I ask you something?"
'Oh boy, here it comes. He is going to ask about my face, I just know it,' Joey nodded dreading whatever it was that his friend wanted to ask him about, "Sure pal, what's up?"
"How come you've never had me over at your place? Like to stay over or something," Yugi bit his bottom lip, his expression was deathly serious.
"Uh...You know why, your place is so much cooler then my run down house. Plus your gramps is fun to be around, what with all the stories he talks about and things are never dull at the game shop," Joey swallowed at the lump in his throat and hoped Yugi would let it go at that.
"Yeah, well I was just curious and was thinking maybe we could stay over at your place sometime." Yugi brightened up, but Joey saw that there were still traces of worry in his friend's face.
"Nah, you'd be bored out of your gourd Yug, trust me. Plus my old man is funny about having people over," Joey sighed, his heart felt very heavy as he tried to gloss over the truth of the matter. He knew his dad would never allow him to have a friend overnight let alone have anyone over when he was home. And besides that Joey didn't want anyone to ever find out how bad it really had become between him and his father.
"Maybe...Oh well, it doesn't really matter. I've just been wondering about it for awhile and thought I would ask you is all," Yugi's big violet eyes appeared sad even though he was trying to smile. Joey was concerned that he might have guessed what the real reason was behind Joey's reluctance to have anyone at his place, but Yugi didn't seem to want to pursue it further.
A breeze blew making leaves rustle on the trees around the two teens as they started up the steps of the school. They were a little early as they usually were, so the two friends went to their lockers to drop off books they didn't need right away and to get any they did need. Joey didn't feel safe leaving his story notebook or the folder with his printed pages in his locker, so he kept them hidden in his backpack. Yugi leaned up against the lockers while Joey was riffling through his things, almost ready to close his locker back up.
"Are you busy after school Yug?" Joey asked, hoping that if he spent some time with his friend he could help him to stop worrying about him.
That made Yugi smile, "No, did you want to hang out or something?"
Joey nodded, "Yeah if you don't have something going on. Maybe we could go to the park or Burger World if you'd rather."
"Sounds great Joey. Maybe Tristan and Tea can join us?"
"I think I see Tea coming this way Yug, why not ask her?" Joey flashed his trademark smile and Yugi returned it warmly then he waved at Tea.
'I sure wish I could go to the library though. I am close to being done with chapter three and would like to see if anyone else left a review for chapter two yet or not,' Joey thought to himself.
Just then all the kids stopped talking and Joey saw the sea of students parting as Seto Kaiba waltzed his way down the hall, reveling in the effect he had on the student body. He had one hand in his pants pocket and the other on his silver briefcase as he strolled along boldly to be the first one in the classroom. Joey turned back to his locker and shut it. He did not want to have anything to do with Kaiba today; after yesterday he'd had all he could stomach of the snobby CEO. He'd made a point of mocking Joey when he'd been called up to the board to work out a math problem. It wasn't so much what he'd said, but the knowing stare he'd grown to loathe over the years; that damned smirk that could make his stomach twist into knots and his jaw clench just from the sheer audacity of the guy to look at him that way.
Tea joined Joey and Yugi at his locker and as Joey was putting the combination lock onto it, Kaiba sneered down his nose at them as he walked past. For once no words were exchanged, a pleasant surprise to be sure, but Joey had understood that look completely. It was as if Kaiba was daring him to say something when he smirked at their group. But Joey had no intention of giving old moneybags the upper hand today if he could avoid it and Yugi smiled at Joey as if to congratulate him on being able to resist the temptation of having another go at the CEO.
The other students around them resumed talking now that Kaiba had entered the classroom and wasn't lingering in their midst. Yugi asked Tea if she had plans later and she said she had dance class, so that meant it might only be Tristan, Joey and Yugi getting together after school. They were interrupted by a bunch of girls at the end of the hall that were making all kinds of noise and then they heard a familiar voice talking among the female chatter.
"Relax ladies, there's plenty of me to go around. No need to get so worked up," Duke Devlin commented cooly as he made his way through the wall of drooling young women.
"Hi Duke!" Yugi called out to their longhaired dice-loving friend.
Duke nodded over at the group that was now moving towards the classroom just as the first bell sounded. He waited at the door for them and they all entered together; as usual Kaiba had his nose in a book ignoring everyone. The teacher was sitting at her desk watching the incoming students and the group of friends stood by the door for awhile, talking quietly. Tristan appeared and was invited to join Yugi, Joey and Duke after school, which he eagerly agreed to go with them to Burger World. The bell rang and everyone took his or her seats quickly, as the school day began.
It was almost five thirty when Joey got home. He was tired from trying to keep up with his friends; his arms ached and his face was throbbing. He went right for the kitchen cabinet that had the Advil and band aids, taking out the bottle that felt like an old friend to the young blonde. Joey went to the refrigerator and looked behind all the beer to see if there was a can of soda left from a twelve pack he'd gotten earlier this week. By his count he should have three left and he soon found what he was looking for. Joey closed the refrigerator and then opened the soda first, then the bottle of Advil, which he flipped over into his palm to get two orange pain relief pills from it.
Joey popped them into his mouth, put the bottle down then lifted the can to his lips, taking two big sips to wash the pills down with. He sighed and replaced the lid on the Advil bottle. Joey put the bottle back in the cabinet before moving to sit down on one of the two kitchen chairs. Joey put his hands on his temples and gently rubbed them in small circles as if doing so would lighten his overburdened mind. He'd missed being able to go to the library, but if his dad came home telling him to get out he could easily go spend the early evening at the library and get his next chapter finished, possibly even get it posted. If his father didn't force him out tonight then he'd stay in his room and work on his story.
When he'd been out with his friends he'd gotten some ideas for having Jack out at a burger joint and what kind of people he'd encounter there, based on some of the odd characters that he'd noticed at Burger World. In fact Joey was looking around at the world in a different light. It was almost like he was writing in his mind even though he had neither pen nor paper in hand; making mental notes about things that he saw that struck him as possibly being good additions to his story. From the pimply faced red head that'd taken their orders at Burger World to the frail old man they'd seen using a powered scooter to get to the corner store as they'd left the restaurant.
'I wish I had a laptop or a computer here at home. I could get so much more done on my story if I didn't have to go to the library to get chapters typed up to post on the site.'
He sighed as he lifted his head from his hands and reached down to his backpack to retrieve his writing tools. No sooner had he pulled out the notebook and his pen he heard the front door being opened so he quickly shoved his things back into his backpack then jumped out of his seat holding his backpack in one hand and his can of soda in the other. Joey tried to get to his room but his father spotted him and called out to him.
"Hey girly boy. Where do you think you're going?"
"I was just gonna go to my room. I got a headache and was gonna go lay down or something," Joey stated, facing his father wishing he was anywhere in the world but here looking at the elder Wheeler who seemed to feel nothing for his son but contempt.
"Doesn't surprise me at all, you are a headache. Stay out of my way kid, if you know what's good for you."
Joey nodded and turned to hide out in his room before his dad had a change of heart. He shut the door behind him and then went to his bed and sat down. The television screamed to life out in the living room and Joey groaned. He couldn't understand how his father could listen to it so loud and he wondered if maybe his old man was losing his hearing to some degree. It wouldn't shock him if he was; he had worked in a factory for close to fifteen years now and the noise there was deafening. Joey remembered when his mother had taken him and his then baby sister to see him at work one time to pick him up to go out to lunch together.
It hadn't worked out at all and he could still recall how upset his mother had been as she'd come back to the car in tears, the sounds of the heavy machinery echoed out from the building scaring Serenity. She'd told them that their father wasn't going to come out with them after all and that they would go out just the three of them. That had been only one of the many times he'd seen his mother crying after things had begun to deteriorate between her and his father. He'd done his best to try to shield his sister from the verbal sparring sessions between his parents, but by the time his mother had filed for divorce there was no doubt that his family was fractured beyond any hope of reconciliation.
He looked around the room noticing stains running down most of the walls from times his father had stood in the door and flung a drink at Joey, raging at him, teetering on the edge of sanity. If he tried to wipe them down with soap and water they would not stay clean for long, so he'd given up trying to keep his room free of the foul pollution his father spewed everywhere throughout their broken home. Joey longed to be free of this deplorable existence that was painfully tainted by the inevitable almost inescapable torture his father heaped upon the young man without shame or caring about the consequences of his actions.
'Mai's place is so nice; I want to be able to have a clean safe place to live in. I don't think that's asking too much dammit. Once I graduate I am so out of here, I don't care if I have to like start off in a cheap studio apartment all in one room. Anything would be better then continuing to live here with him.'
Joey sat on his bed and put the soda on his nightstand by his stereo, then he rested his backpack against the bed on the floor. Looking down at his feet, the young blonde thought about having his own place and one way or another Joey Wheeler would see that dream become a reality. He had survived thus far and short of his father strangling the life out of his fragile shell of flesh, he knew he would keep on surviving. Shaking the grim thoughts of death away he then turned on his stereo and reached down to his backpack; already forming the thoughts he wanted to place upon paper.
He might not be able to escape his prison for good right now, but he at least could stay within the confines of his own mind and put forth something of his own creation. Jack Havoc, his main character; there was an irresistible attraction to move his adventures onward. As Joey fished out his pen, notebook and the folder with what he had so far on chapter three he was thinking about his story. His eye locked onto a page in the front of his notebook he'd missed, it was from Mai! She'd left her number to her apartment and her cell phone telling him to call her.
He smiled at the thought of her doing something like this and he decided that he would call her soon to thank her for having him over like that. The rock music played softly in the background as Joey pulled his feet up onto his bed and crossed them Indian style in front of him, moving his notebook onto his knees, pen already in hand. Ideas flowed from the young teen and as they focused in front of him Joey could see Jack in his mind as wrote about him sitting in his navy blue Ford Taurus.
The camera caught all of it; zooming in on the figure of Mr. Paul Hanson who had his right arm wrapped tightly around the waist of his young redheaded companion as they walked away from his silver BMW. Jack held the cone shaped external microphone up to catch the couple's playful bantering. Things he knew would shatter his client upon hearing, but the lady had hired him and that meant he owed her; no matter what that truth was that he uncovered, his client had paid him to tail this arrogant cheater and that was exactly what he'd do.
Joey moved along swiftly and before he knew it he'd completely finished the stake out and made the transition to the final scene of chapter three where Jack confronts Mrs. Hanson with his initial findings. He wrote about her reaction and making it somewhat impartial, as if the truth were already known and accepted and all that was left was for the proud woman to admit her defeat before beginning to move on in her life. Joey smiled as he continued with the final scene and wrapped it up neatly with her asking him to continue his surveillance, leaving a white envelope concealing a check to the private eye to cover his continued service extending their current arrangement.
Stretching his arms out behind him, Joey yawned and glanced at the digital clock to his right, noting it was after eight. He uncurled his feet from under him and moved his notebook off his lap to the bed as pins and needles shot throughout his limbs from sitting hunched over in that position so long. He muttered how he could use a desk in here, but looking around he knew there wasn't any room for one and it would just be one more thing his father might use against him. It pissed the young teen off how his possessions were always fair game when it came to his father and his efforts to make his son's life sheer hell. He looked over to the dresser, remembering the large mirror that had once sat there which was long gone.
In all honesty he didn't really miss the mirror. More often then not it had only served to remind him of the ugliness of his life, reflecting the fruits of his father's anger whenever it had been directed towards Joey. Loud thunderous steps shook the house alerting the young man that his father was up and might be intent on pestering him. Frantic he'd be discovered with his writing out that was his only copy of the raw text he'd been working on vulnerable to destruction, he shoved everything into his backpack and tossed it across the room onto a pile of laundry next to the scratched up dresser.
Not a moment too soon. Joey had flicked his stereo off and watched impassively as his door was violently flung open, slamming against the wall where the doorknob had punched a hole in the wall many years ago. He met his father's angry gaze and sat silent in front of the red faced figure of his drunken assailant. The door slamming had no power over Joey, but his father didn't care, he was just looking to pick a fight and punch something soft in his search for satisfaction. His chest was heaving as he sternly walked over to Joey and balled his fist.
"What the hell were you thinking bitch? Did you think I wouldn't notice you messed around in the fridge? Did ya punk? You never touch my beer! Were you trying to steal some from me, huh?"
Joey shook his head and fought the urge to run past the man out into the night. He knew if he left he'd come back to a destroyed room as he had before he learned that running from this man solved nothing. His only solution was time. He still held his father's gaze, in the back of his mind the small hope still existed that this man might realize what he was doing and finally end his sadistic behavior towards the only flesh and blood he had left in this world. The fist connected with his already bruised cheek, adding to the agony the young man had endured all day. Tears welled up in his brown eyes as he looked up at the man he loathed so deeply; why couldn't he see what the hell he was doing? Why did he have to hurt him so badly? Why?
"Get up you sissy bitch, get up and take it like a man you freaking loafer! You got shit to do mister," red rimmed brown eyes met tearful ones briefly as Joey tried to pick himself up from his bed and stand, knowing that more was coming, yet totally helpless to stop this cycle as another fist slammed into his side.
Joey couldn't stop himself from crying out as he flew back down to his bed clutching his abdomen. He felt cruel fingers coil into his hair and rip him up from the mattress back to his feet, then he felt the breeze first then the ripping pain of being slapped on his good cheek. Red imprints of long fingers appeared there and Joey bit back tears. No one deserved to suffer like this, it wasn't right and Joey thought about Yugi; imagining he was out with him at the park, both of them going over their decks laughing in the afternoon sun.
Even as he was thrown to the floor Joey protected himself by using the only measures he could, total submittal to his fate physically and complete defiance mentally. His dad might be able to beat down his body, but he'd never beat down his spirit. Not when Joey had Serenity and his friends to support him and love him. This was nothing compared to the knowledge that once he had broken away from this place he'd never have to look back and could let his soul fly as he let it fly now in his projected thoughts of being with his friend.
One thing he knew, this would pass, this attack, this week, this month. If he could make it through each day he would see his dream of being freed from this hell become reality and that helped him weather the storm of his father's anger. If that meant going out there and doing his dad's laundry, or cleaning the house Joey would do it in the interests of trying to keep peace even if it was only for the rest of the night. Tomorrow was another day and one he prayed was better then how today had ended.
The sounds of rapidly moving fingers on a computer keyboard filled the brightly light office as Seto Kaiba continued working well past dinnertime. He was inputting long lines of complicated code and quite engrossed in his work. When the phone rang he scoffed at it before he stopped typing long enough to answer it.
"What?" his cold voice demanded.
"Mr. Kaiba sir, your brother is on line two. Would you like me to take a message or put him through?" the female voice of his current secretary shook ever so slightly indicating her fear of angering her boss.
"Put him through."
Seto waited while the call was transferred and then he rolled his eyes when his brother's voice greeted him a little too enthusiastically for his taste.
"Hi big brother! When are you coming home?"
"I'll be home when I'm home Mokuba, you know this expansion for the virtual adventure game is very important and it won't write itself you know."
"Uh, right, sorry Seto. I just...I just miss you is all. I'm sorry I bothered you..."
The blue eyed CEO sighed as he realized he'd come across harder then he'd meant to and he changed his mind about calling it a day.
"No little brother, I'm sorry. How about you have Johnson bring you here to come get me and we'll go out for something to eat. Would you like that?"
"Awesome! I'll see you soon then Seto! Bye!" Seto chuckled as he hung up the phone wearing a smile only his brother could bring to his face.
He saved what he was working on and then turned off the computer. Booting up his laptop Seto decided to check up on that pathetic story of the mutt's to see if he'd removed it yet or if he'd been brave enough to post another supposed chapter to that drivel he'd put up yesterday. It disgusted him seeing more people had left encouraging reviews; did they even read that garbage? Seto had to wonder and after seeing a name he recalled seeing that reviewed the first chapter he clicked on the link to their profile.
Kaiba laughed upon seeing three 'R' rated stories with original characters and some characters from animated shows. The CEO saw all he needed to see to form an opinion about the person going by /RoseWhipLady/. With that he shut down the laptop, satisfied that the mutt would feel the burn of his last review soon enough and if he was lucky it might be all that the stubborn blonde could take making him so mad that he would remove his stupid story. Only time would tell and if he dared to upload another chapter Seto might feel like leaving another review or he might not. He put his laptop in his briefcase and leaving his office behind him the young brunette headed out to meet his brother.
Mai was writing on one of her romantic stories when she noticed it was getting late. She couldn't help but to think about Joey and hope he was all right. It had been weighing heavily on her mind ever since he'd slept over how he'd denied his father had been physical with him, but she'd gotten the impression he'd been hiding something. The feeling hadn't lessened any over time either, instead it grew stronger the more she thought back to how he'd denied it. It had surprised her that he'd been willing to talk about his home life at all and not for the last time Mai Valentine wished there was more she could do for her friend to ease his suffering.
She'd checked earlier to see if Joey had added anything else to his story but he hadn't. Mai knew how difficult it could be finding time to write, but from what she'd seen in his notebook he had plenty of ideas he wanted to develop. Hopefully it was just that he hadn't gotten the chance to and not something that meant the young blonde was in some kind of trouble. As she took a sip of her berry wine cooler she shivered, letting out a little yelp of surprise and then she hiccuped.
"Ooop! Hic, hic-up," Mai rolled her eyes at the annoying sensation of her diaphragm and her esophagus out of sorts.
'Honestly this sucks. I should drink these wine coolers slower.'
Just then her phone rang and Mai groaned, it was too soon to be Joey. With her luck it was her agent with news of a new modeling job she'd have to get read for. She let the answering machine get it and then picked up after her agent began leaving a message for her. Oddly enough her hiccups went away after that, maybe it was the surprise of the phone interrupting the silence of the apartment or maybe it was just that her mind wasn't thinking about them anymore.
"Hi Reggie, sounds like you got a good gig lined up for me."
The voice on the other end of the phone agreed with her and Mai went to get her purse to take out her daily planner so she could write down all the details as he gave them to her. She was already making a list of preparations she'd need to start on as soon as she got off the phone. Like getting her nails all polished as well as putting on a special facial mask that helped to keep her skin silky smooth despite all the heavy makeup that any modeling job required her to let a makeup artist put on her. By the time she hung up the phone her mind was elsewhere and even though she was occupied, part of her thoughts stayed on Joey Wheeler as she hoped he was safe.